Posts tagged ‘RLIP76’
A gene may play as large a role in the cause of obesity as the foods we eat, according to new research from City of Hope.
The study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, found that a protein, called RLIP76, produced by a specific gene, plays a significant role in obesity. Mice lacking the protein were resistant to gaining weight on a high-fat diet and had reduced blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In fact, they gained 40 percent less weight than mice that produced the protein after 12 weeks on a high-fat diet.
Sanjay Awasthi, M.D., a professor of Division of Molecular Diabetes Research and of medical oncology at City of Hope, is one of the study’s lead authors. “The American Medical Association recently defined obesity as a disease, but it’s long been viewed as a syndrome with many contributing factors and no single gene we can pin down — until now. This is conclusive evidence that a single protein dramatically affects development of obesity.”
Of course, such observations are based on animal data, which may or may not apply to humans, but they are undeniably provocative.
With about two-thirds of the U.S. population weighing in as overweight or obese, obesity is one of the nation’s most serious health problems and a global epidemic affecting 300 million people worldwide. Pinpointing this gene’s potential role offers new insights into the mechanism behind obesity — and why it’s so tough to fight, said Sharad Singhal, Ph.D., a research professor in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism at City of Hope.
In addition to being thinner after the high-fat diet regimen, the mice without the protein had lower levels of cholesterol and insulin in their blood streams. » Continue Reading
One of the reasons pancreatic cancer is so tough to beat is that it can survive the damage caused by radiation and chemotherapy. But City of Hope researchers figured out a way to make pancreatic cancer cells more vulnerable to therapy. They hope to push their studies into clinical trials in the near future.
“Pancreatic cancer patients are a special case of the particularly unlucky, and in many ways the most miserable. The drug and radiation resistance of this cancer is legendary,” says City of Hope physician-researcher Sanjay Awasthi, M.D., who leads the effort.
So the scientists adopted a unique strategy: Put a cork in cancer cells’ exhaust system.
Awasthi, professor in the departments of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and his team study RLIP76, a protein naturally found in the body. “It pumps out the toxic chemicals that accumulate in the cancer cell as a result of chemo- or radiotherapy, before they can cause cell death,” he explains.
They wondered if taking away the protein might keep the toxins in the cells long enough to kill the cells. So they tried it in the lab.
When they dropped levels of RLIP76 in pancreatic cancer cells and tumors in mice, and then exposed the cells to radiation or chemotherapy, the therapies killed cancer better. An added bonus: dropping RLIP76 also reduced blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in lab mice. So medications that use this strategy to fight cancer might also battle diabetes.
They presented their results at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Pancreatic Cancer: Progress and Challenges conference in mid-June.